There’s an outdated idea that getting sober means giving something up — saying goodbye to partying, excitement, fun and impulsivity. But really, nothing could be further from the truth.
When you give up drugs and alcohol, you’re opening yourself up to a better life, with the freedom to do what you really want. That’s why there is no reason that a sober life has to be a boring life. In fact, going into treatment and getting into recovery often leaves you with the health, energy and motivation to live life to the fullest.
Here’s why a life in recovery is anything but boring. When you’re sober…
You’re at your best
When you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol, your life is dictated by the substances that you’re dependent on. You’re either taking them or wondering when you can get your hands on them next. Even when you’re not actively using or securing drugs, your mind wanders to substances.
But when you get sober, that constant nagging is released. Sure, you’ll experience cravings or temptations now and then. But in the day-to-day, your mind is healthier and able to think about the big questions in life: who you are, what brings you happiness, and how to life the most fulfilled life possible.
One of the greatest gifts that recovery gives you is your health. Being addicted to substances leaves you at risk for a myriad of illnesses, including coronavirus. And even when you’re not confronting serious illnesses, you’re constantly navigating the experience of being hung over or dopesick.
Once you’re sober, your body is able to start healing from years of substance use. As your body begins repairing itself, you’ll start feeling healthier than ever. You’re able to hike or bike further than you could when you were using. You have the bandwidth to strain your mind and body by learning new skills, rather than just operating at the lowest level.
Living through addiction and coming out the other side is a terrifying experience. Anyone who has been in treatment for substance use disorder can probably point to their own personal rock bottom —oftentimes a moment when they didn’t know whether they would live or die.
Once you’ve seen yourself at your worst, or wondered if your life would go on, other things suddenly seem less scary. You’ve pushed through the worst of the worst and survived. Many people find that is freeing, allowing them to try new things, whether it’s putting yourself out there into the dating pool or trying a scary activity like rock climbing.
You’re more financially secure
Addiction zaps your resources. Your time, money and effort is all directed at your next high. Once you get on your feet in recovery, you’ll likely find that you have more energy, freedom, and financial resources to pursue the things that really bring you joy.
When you were using, things like travel and higher education probably seemed out of reach. But now that you’re sober, those are realistic possibilities that you can pursue.
You’re in control
When you’re addicted, you’re ruled by your disease. But when you’re sober, you are in control. You get to decide what life sounds exciting to you. If you want to dance and party — after the pandemic — there are plenty of places that host sober clubbing experiences. If your idea of fun involves plays or theater, you have the opportunity to do that. And if you prefer outdoor activities, you’re more able to engage with them when you’re not chasing your next fix.
A life of addiction might be full of unknowns — which some people find exciting. But it’s also full of illness, financial consequences and limitations on your ability to try new things. When you get sober, you open yourself up to a world of opportunities and the freedom to pursue them.